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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Massive sound: Empowering dissent through music

After receiving positive responses in Meghalaya, Kashmir and Goa, music artistes Taru Dalmia and Samara Chopra will now take on Mumbai.

mumbai Updated: Jan 26, 2019 13:33 IST
Aditya Vaddepalli
Aditya Vaddepalli
Hindustan Times
Samara Chopra and Taru Dalmia
Samara Chopra and Taru Dalmia(HT PHOTO)

Taru Dalmia, a reggae artiste, poet, activist and emcee based out of New Delhi, goes by the moniker, Delhi Sultanate. He along with his partner, Samara Chopra, who also goes by the name Begum X, run the country’s first mobile hand-built reggae sound system — the Bass Foundation Roots (BFR) Sound System. They built the system with the help of a crowdfunding campaign and a few close friends. After receiving positive responses in Meghalaya, Kashmir and Goa, the duo will now take on Mumbai. They will be performing with rappers from Dharavi on Januray 26. Activist Donisha Prendergast, granddaughter of reggae legend Bob Marley, will also be present at the event to talk about Rastafarianism.

Taru claims dissent is being suppressed in the country. However, reggae music, he says, is “uplifting and empowering”. Currently, he says, there is severe repression and little debate on “real issues”. “The media and politicians are doing a great job of constantly distracting us with false issues — religious conflict, fabricated outrage of what a student in a university may have said and some group who starts rioting because they don’t like how India is depicted in a film.”

Watch Taru and Samara perform in Imphal


What kind of development we want, why our forests and natural resources are being privatised and sold off at an alarming rate, why our universities and institutions are suffering or why so many farmers are committing suicide — these are the issues Taru hopes to highlight through his music. “Art and culture can bring people together, they can create a feeling of solidarity and give heart in times when it’s easy to despair and feel completely overpowered,” he says.

Taru has mixed reviews about Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt’s upcoming movie and its impact on hip hop. He says, “No doubt the movie will create more awareness about hip hop. It will also create more opportunities for rappers and they will most likely get more respect as a result of the movie. However, on the other hand, sometimes culture, in this case, hip hop, does better when it has time to grow without too much mainstream attention.”

However, he is elated that the genre is gaining a steady audience in the country and confides that this is something he’s been wanting to see for the past 10 years. “Kids are coming out and telling their stories in an assertive way, many belong to minorities or are Dalits. This is much needed,” concludes Taru.

BFR Sound System : Reggae Meets Hip Hop at Dharavi

Time: January 26, 4pm – 9pm

Venue: Shree Ganesh Vidya Mandir School, Dharavi Cross Road, Dharavi, Mumbai - 400017, Off 90 Feet Road

Performers: MC Heam, Students of The Dharavi Project, Swadesi, D’evil, Trap Poju, Dee MC, HHB 7bantaiz, Dopeadelics

First Published: Jan 25, 2019 19:04 IST